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Canada Considers Quebec Woman With Six Children in Syria a Security Risk

A lawyer says Canada will not repatriate a Quebec woman being held in Syria with her six children because officials believe she poses a security risk.

Lawyer Lawrence Greenspon, who has been working to bring the woman home, said he was advised of the decision recently by Global Affairs Canada.

The department wrote on June 21 that the woman has “extremist ideological beliefs” that may lead her to act violently, and the government cannot ensure no such conduct occurs, he said Monday.

Mr. Greenspon said the excuse is unacceptable, arguing the government could deal with the woman as needed through Canada’s justice system.

“This business about them not having the ability to oversee the conduct is a complete falsehood. It’s an outright lie,” he said in an interview.

The federal decision means the woman must decide whether to send her children to Canada alone or keep them with her in Syrian detention, he said. “It’s not what I was hoping to hear.”

Global Affairs said in writing late last November that the woman and her children had met the criteria for federal consideration of assistance to Canadians detained in the region.

The family is among the many foreign nationals in Syrian camps run by Kurdish forces that took back the war-torn area from the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Mr. Greenspon reached an agreement with the federal government earlier this year to bring home six Canadian women and 13 children from Syria who had initially been part of a legal action. Some of these 19 Canadians have already returned.

However, the Quebec woman, whose name is not public, was not part of the court case.

Mr. Greenspon said Monday that another airlift is expected in early July, and he was hoping the woman and her children would be on the flight to Canada. “But we did not anticipate this kind of an assessment.”

Global Affairs Canada had no immediate comment on the case Monday.

The development comes just days after a Canadian delegation, including Senator Kim Pate, announced plans to head to northeastern Syria in late August to gather information about the remaining Canadians in squalid camps and prisons.

The team is also to include Alex Neve, former secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, and Scott Heatherington, a retired Canadian diplomat.

Source : Theglobeandmail